I'm not exactly sure what to expect here, so I'll go ahead and introduce myself and see what I find.
I'm a wife and mom (2 kids, 3rd on the way.) My oldest son was diagnosed with autism (and related disorders) in 2012. My husband and I were both raised "true blue" Mormon, but our son's condition was the catalyst that lead us to question those beliefs. We both generally identify as atheist now, but of course that term can be loaded if you're not sure what the other person means by it. For myself, I cannot believe in God. My family seems to think it's a choice I have made (and a bad choice at that), when the only choice was to follow my reason. I got to the point where it was physically painful for me to sit in church and listen to the contradictions.
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
I do miss the weekly contact with grownups, though. (It's a mom thing.) And I guess that's what brings me here. I've been google-ing for months, trying to find a special needs parenting support group that won't preach to me about "blessings" and tell me they'll pray for me. I live in the south (United States bible belt), and it's just all around me. "God won't give you anything you can't handle." "God knows what he's doing." "You're in my prayers." "Bless your heart!"
Maybe I can learn just to not hear it, but I'm not there yet. It's just assumed around here that everyone believes in God to some degree. You don't have to be the same religion/denomination, but you must have one. Even if you don't believe in organized religion, you must feel the spark in your heart that tells you you are a divine creation.
Anyway, in my google-ing I plugged in "atheist special needs support group" and the Atheists With Special Needs Dependents group on this site popped up. I can't tell if it's still active, but I guess I'll find out. If nothing else, I like to rant occasionally, and at least here I don't have to worry about being stoned for heresy, or worse, blessed.
Welcome! I'm from the bible belt as well, it's definitely an interesting place to live, to say the least. I hope you enjoy using the site.
Thanks! You say you're "from" the bible belt, does that mean you still live here, or used to and have since moved away?
I moved a couple years ago from Missouri to Washington, Seattle specifically. Now I live in California.
Good to have you with us, Amy. I'm a happily retired Catholic, but my extended family in the Midwest are still immured in superstition. Fortunately they tend to play the religion game more for social reasons than ontological reasons, so there's no rabid biblical literalism to contend with. Nevertheless, the way you boil the response possibilities down to two equally unacceptable choices--being stoned or blessed--strikes a chord with me. I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for over half my life now, but whenever I go back for a visit I get the same constricted, claustrophobic feeling because except with a few old friends, explanations of my position just don't compute. You have a very nice writing style, and it's great to have another thinking person join us!
Thanks for the welcome!
I'm originally from the Midwest myself so I understand that context as well. It is interesting to me how regions can be so distinctive in culture. Is the Pacific Northwest less religiously inclined, or is it just easier to be "different" because it's not where you were raised?
Both of those are factors I'd say. We definitely have our share of religious whackos out here, but at least there are enough of us heathens hanging about to keep them aware that there is an opposition party. I live between Seattle and Portland, both of which are considered "lost cities" by some of the more foaming-at-the-mouth fundy groups. Flattery will get them everywhere!
Greets and salutes, Amy; we're glad you found us. Please come on in. I think you'll find a fair share of adult conversation as well as some occasional silliness. We have fun here and hope you do, too.
Serious or silly: anything will take the edge off I think. :-)
Thanks for the great laugh Patricia.
Nice to meet another X. Means I'm not crazy. ;-)